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Cecil Gray was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad in modest circumstances in 1923. Reading and schooling provided him with a route towards security, a gift he has repaid by his lifelong commitment to education. He obtained a teacher’s certificate and an external degree from London University.
In 1976 he was awarded the Medal of Merit, Class One, Gold, by the Trinidadian Government for his meritorious service in education and culture. His proudest achievement was to have made a key contribution to getting West Indian literature accepted in schools.
His lecturing activities in this period undoubtedly held back his own writing, though he had poems published in Bim, Kyk-over-Al, Trinidad and Tobago Review, Savacou, The Greenfield Review and Caribbean Quarterly. However, it was only after he migrated to Canada in 1988, with the hope that distance would enable him to write, that the poems flowed.
The first flowering of these appeared in The Woolgatherer (Peepal Tree, 1994). Since then Cecil Gray has produced poems at a rate that Peepal Tree could not keep up with. Subsequent self-published collections include: Lillian's Songs (1996), Leaving the Dark (1998) and Plumed Palms (2000).